Sunday, June 27, 2010

My grown up new website!

After an exciting journey of re-discovery, my new website is up. A Grown Up website, under my own name
Assembling the material I had to revisit the Fantasy Folk era and the Fit to Fly years. Reading the reviews and newspaper articles made me aware how far I had progressed with my work and how much my work was enjoyed and accepted.
Fast forward and I have ‘Hatched‘ and experienced life through the eyes of Cirrus Kalani.
Now, I am looking forward to the start of my ‘new’ creative era!
I hope you stay in touch!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Books that are not really books, and yet they are...

... Let me explain.

I remember when I first became ill with M.E. I was unable to read. Audio books were suggested, but my argument was that I liked the scent of books, and that audio books were for people who couldn't read. Both arguments were defeated. I was told to put a book beside my head to have the scent, and it was pointed out to me that I was unable to hold up a book, and couldn't read more than one paragraph at the time... . Point (reluctantly) taken.
Years later I wrote a poem about it. See page 8 of Hatched

Fast forward to 2010. My reading and obviously my writing ability have been restored. I even published two books. Real ones, which smell and feel like books! ... and now both my books Hatched, and Cirrus Chronicles are now available to be read online through issuu. To read the books, "hover" over the Hatched or Cirrus buttons above and click on 'read the book here'.Me... Virtual books... I thought I NEVER get into that! But I think it is great. The books are now within reach of all sorts of people. Maybe even for people who are bed bound and unable to hold up a book, but can click a mouse of the computer. I am excited about that!

And of course... the real books are still there too. If you happen to like my books a lot, and would like to have your own, personalised signed copy in your possession, please click on the shop button above.

I hope my new readers will enjoy the ramblings of my never idle mind.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Apples and books!

When I was about eight years old, I visited an elderly lady, which I think was a widow of my dad's colleague. She lived in The Hague. Travelling there was a journey in itself. After the train ride, my parents and I walked through a broad avenue with Georgian houses on either side.
Arriving at our destination, we were led through the long hallway and into a room full of books. I still remember how my heart stopped. I LOVED this place. I loved the walls crammed with books, and the musty scent that came with it.

How I wanted to stay in that room, but... I was not one for speaking up, especially among strangers, so I followed the elderly lady, and my parents into the sitting room. Equally impressive, but it did not have books...

The woman's granddaughter (about my age, or perhaps a little older), joined us in the room.
I wanted to be this girl. I wanted to have a grandmother like her. (I loved my granny, but this was a whole new experience).
This girl was wearing a necklace with a plastic, eaten apple core... I wanted one. This was the only way I could pretend to be this girl. My parents did not understand. I did not explain.

Well 40 years later, I have bought my desired object and I hope it will bring me even closer to my writing and love of books.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Life's peculiar habit (of making sense)

Until very recently I was quite happy with my presence in the virtual world. I had (still have) a website, on which I share my art, writing, photography, write the occasional bit of news, and even have a page on the art in Lismore and the women I admire. I also have a page about M.E.
Last night I realised that it was quite a generic page, not about me with M.E., but the bare facts and a few links. Have people go somewhere else to find out about the illness...

I think the need to change my presence on the web stemmed from a very challenging time I had in March.

I love life, at times a bit more than my energy allows. So, just after my birthday, celebrated with friends for lunch and a monopoly game (which I gloriously lost ) at night with other friends, I felt that I needed time off. Time for a breather. Time to slowly get back to a routine of writing and pottering in the garden.
As it happens I had made an appointment for reiki, although this turned into a treatment with the Scenar. This treatment, which in short works on the nervous system, knocked me into a breakdown. The day after the treatment, I was so incredibly ill. I was in a huge amount of pain. Physically and mentally. I was told to be in a 'healing crisis' and received treatment the following day, to counteract the effects. This helped to the extent that the pain became bearable.

For weeks I slept, cried, rested, wrote, and tried to figure out was this treatment a good thing... A time of absolute confusion. I felt so ill, was so incredibly tired, looked terrible, but... can this treatment really be as good as suggested and that it really is a way into recovery? Is there really so much 'stuff' from my past in my body that, if it is 'scenar-ed' out, I will be well?
I continued with the treatment and continued to feel ill, and in a lot of pain.

I talked with various friends and a cousin from Canada. To her it sounded that I was being 'bullied' and that I was defending the illness to the therapist. This made sense. And yet it didn't... Maybe I needed this treatment, yet it felt so wrong. Maybe I needed this 'kick up my behind' to go forward.

Around the same time, the Journal from the 'Creative for a Second' Project came to my house. A wonderful project where people with M.E. from all over the globe, have the opportunity to write-draw etc in a journal for a two week period. The journal then moves to the next person on the list. The work I created (see Facebook link) received a lot of positive feedback. AND I felt hugely honoured to be among these wonderful creative beings who happen to have M.E.

I was also invited to exhibit my art at the M.E. Institute in the virtual world 'Second Life' (see earlier post). I had NO idea what this Second Life was all about, but I agreed. Kirsty, the woman behind the project, (to help people with M.E. make contact and have a place to visit when housebound) became a very important person to me. I became a member of Second Life and visited the Institute many times. There again I found myself among other creative people with M.E. and came to the realisations that 'we can't all be mad', M.E. does exist.
Again the comments on my work were heartwarming. Thank you all!

I realized that I have something to share with the world, and that I was finally able to embrace the fact that I have M.E. I was ready to add my voice to make other people aware about the effects of this illness on ones life. You might say I have done that in the past, but now I felt ready for it. Reached the point of acceptance (again! as they come in many forms...)

I felt that my work and voice needed to be 'out there' in a more coherent way. I asked Shannon to 'sort it all out for me'! She did. Thanks Shannon! She suggested that I needed a blog. To which I agreed. She knew what was good for me! And a new website... I must admit that for me this has become a NEED, not so much a want anymore!

The thinking about how I would like my new website (which is in the making!) to look, and the creation of THE blog, or maybe the events of the past few months made me see 'where I am in life' and 'who I am in life'. What are my hopes? What would I like to share? What is important to me?
Nature. Creativity. Writing. Friends. Life!

Last night I wrote the first draft for the M.E. page for the revamped website, and ... it is about what M.E. means to me. The good and the difficult.
I'll let you know when the new site is up and running.

Thanks for 'listening'!

Ps. I did stop the treatment and feel the better for it.

Friday, June 4, 2010


As a complete novice to the blogging world, I am trilled to find that I have received some positive comments for the blog. (it was a trill to even realize that there was such a thing as 'comments') Thank you all!!!! It is all very encouraging!

Last night to relax after the organising of the launch :-) I observed a fledgling sparrow being fed by it's 'daddy'. Lovely!
see you all tonight!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Official launch of my blogging life!

Friday 4th June - 8pm (Irish time) is the official launch of my blog, ... (and/or my entry into the world of blogging?).

The idea is to welcome you as a guest and offer a 'virtual' glass of wine, or a cup of herbal tea. For snacks there will be homemade biscuits and locally made sheep cheese, and I will have some luscious strawberries on offer! I hope you are blessed with a very good imagination... or a kitchen cupboard with the required goodies!

Anyway, thank you for coming along!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Kneading the past and present together

I love the way chance meetings grow into something special.At the start of the year, I was told about Cork artist Spark Deeley. (see link to her website) As we both had self published books, I suggested that we swap books...
In February Spark wrote: "I am taking part in an exhibition of artist's who work with books in the UK in October. Seeing and reading your work made me wonder if we could organise something similar here? Would you be interested?"
"Of course!"
We talked, and talked, and talked some more on the phone. We met. But what will we create?

The start of the idea, the SEED if you like, came from me having purchased a greenhouse and spending all my time there. "I will be growing roots here soon!"
'Seeds; growing; planting; trees.'
My fellow artist is involved in researching the FAMILY TREE, so am I, to a lesser degree.

SEED ... TREE made sense...
During further phonecalls the seed grew.
Last weekend we finally started to work.
First more talk of course... before we created paper-mache from news papers, letters, photographs, and snippets of diary entries.

I loved watching Spark as she put her hands in her bucket of news paper snippets and came out with a thought, which in no time resulted in the sketches of ancestors and sheets of words.Her paper-mache miraculously became beautiful seed podsMe? filling my bucket with scraps, I read previous diary entries: 'family toilet tissue.. why not 'singles-toilet tissue' or 'bachelors'? and disturbing entries written under the influence of medication. I looked at photographs of parents, grand parents and great grand parents. It felt 'odd' to tear them up. I did.
After a lot of thought, I kneaded it all together.
The image of the tree I was creating, suddenly became a hand... signifying the huge tree that nearly killed me over 12 years ago.

Over the weekend, I added daffodils that grew on the roots of the uprooted tree: survival; a bird to fly over it: healing; a wall to hold up the tree: love and support.
Having both left over paper-mache we created a base to hold the REAL TREE we will create at a later date.

The exhibition of this?
...When the paper-mache dries... probably in about 12 years time! :-)

I Will let you know!